The most important single part of the NHS Bill
“The services provided as part of the health service in England must be free of charge except in so far as the making and recovery of charges is expressly provided for by or under any enactment, whenever passed”
What this means is that if the bill is passed, only those charges that already exist can be made by the NHS unless and until further legislation is explicitly passed allowing it. This is the crucial piece of wording (it’s an amendment to the 2006 Act’s wording, which didn’t have ‘as part of the health service in England’). It means that *any* new charges to patients have to be explicitly included.
Despite the stuff being put about by Ben Goldacre et al, this is the crucial point. This bill *does not* provide for any further NHS charges. It guarantees a continued free health service. Disagree with the bill if you want (I do), but do it based on the actual bill, not on scaremongering.
And I just wish everyone would stop using scaremongering rhetoric, so I don’t have to post stuff ‘defending’ stuff I disagree with. Argue about the merits of the bill all you want, but please stop saying it’s the end of the NHS, or it privatises the NHS, or it will introduce charges, because it just *doesn’t*. Crying wolf will only mean that if or when a serious effort to do those things ever happens (and I suspect it more likely to happen under a Labour government than this one, because people trust Labour with the NHS, though God know why) no-one will believe you until it’s too late.